Stanwood chief picked to lead Bellingham Police Department

“She has been a rising star in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office,” Bellingham’s mayor said.

Rebecca Mertzig (Stanwood Police Department)

Rebecca Mertzig (Stanwood Police Department)

By Julie Shirley / Bellingham Herald and The Daily Herald staff

STANWOOD — Rebecca Mertzig will become Bellingham’s police chief June 1.

Mertzig, a Ferndale resident, is chief of the Stanwood Police Department and a lieutenant in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, where she has used her birth surname, Rebecca Lewis.

Her salary will be $196,884 a year, according to the city, for leading a department funded for 193 full-time employees. The police chief reports to the mayor.

An 18-year law enforcement veteran, Mertzig was a member of the Snohomish County Equity and Inclusion Task Force and was Deputy of the Year in 2010. She also earned the FBI-LEEDA Trilogy Award for completing an FBI supervisory training course. She has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Eastern Washington University.

Three semifinalists were chosen March 8 from 15 applicants for the vacancy after more than a year of searching for a new chief.

One of the other semifinalists was Deputy Chief John DeRousse of the Everett Police Department.

The salary range for the position was listed as $162,720 to $196,884 per year plus benefits.

Chief David Doll retired in January 2021. Chief Flo Simon has been serving in the interim as Bellingham Mayor Seth Fleetwood and the City Council have committed to re-imagine policing in the wake of the 2020 racial justice movement and a staffing crunch that has gutted its special units.

Simon, who was Bellingham’s second Black police officer, has announced her retirement effective June 1.

“I am pleased to announce that Rebecca Mertzig has accepted our offer to be Bellingham’s next Chief of Police,” Fleetwood stated for a news release. “She comes to us with exceptional qualifications and experience. She has been a rising star in the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, exceeding expectations and excelling in leadership positions. I am impressed with her experience, integrity and enthusiasm to lead the Bellingham Police Department.”

“It is an honor to be selected as your new Chief,” Mertzig stated in the news release. “I look forward to continuing the high standard of service provided by the dedicated and professional team at the Bellingham Police Department and I am excited for the opportunity to enhance public safety in my own community.”

Her appointment will be made final after the completion of a standard background investigation that is underway, according to the city.

Correction: An earlier version of this story misidentified the applicant from the Everett Police Department.

Talk to us

More in Local News

Analisa Paterno of Marysville-Getchell, left, shares a laugh with Nathan Harms Friday morning at Pathfinder Manufacturing in Everett, Washington on September 23, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Sky’s the limit: Snohomish County teens help build parts for Boeing

Pathfinder Manufacturing in Everett trains dozens of at-risk high school students to make airplane parts, en route to a career.

Fred Safstrom, CEO of Housing Hope, is retiring. Photographed in Everett, Washington on October 5, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Housing Hope CEO reflects on 25-year career helping unsheltered people

“People used to believe homelessness was caused by bad choices.” Minds and policies are changing, Fred Safstrom said.

Vehicles exiting I-5 southbound begin to turn left into the eastbound lanes of 164th Street Southwest on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in Lynnwood, Washington. (Ryan Berry / The Herald)
Traffic backups on 164th Street near I-5 could see relief soon

The county and state are implementing a new traffic signal system that synchronizes the corridor and adjusts to demand.

Rick Winter (left) and Gary Yang, the founders of the former UniEnergy Technologies, stand with one their latest batteries, the Reflex, August 10, 2022. (Dan DeLong/InvestigateWest)
‘Chaotic mess’: Clean energy promises imploded at Mukilteo battery maker

UniEnergy Technologies absorbed millions in public funds, then suddenly went dark. The company is accused of providing tech to China.

Everett
Federal funds could pay for Everett bathrooms, gun buyback, more

City officials propose $7.95 million of American Rescue Plan Act money on a shelter, mental health support and more.

Community Transit chief financial officer Eunjoo Greenhouse
Community Transit hires King County staffer as CFO

Eunjoo Greenhouse is set to join the agency Oct. 24 after years in King County government.

Logo for news use featuring the municipality of Lake Stevens in Snohomish County, Washington. 220118
Highway 9 in south Lake Stevens to close overnight this weekend

The highway will be closed between 20th Street SE and 32nd Street SE. Through traffic should use Highway 204 and U.S. 2.

Everett
Everett aims to ‘streamline’ cumbersome process for code violations

The current system costs about $1 million per year to run, but only brings in about $50,000 in fines. Staff suggested changes.

Alexander Fritz is released from handcuffs after being lead into the courtroom Thursday afternoon at Snohomish County Courthouse in Everett, Washington on October 6, 2022.  (Kevin Clark / The Herald)
Team USA climbing coach gets 5 years for child rapes

Alexander Fritz, 28, engaged in “inappropriate relationships” with 15-year-old girls, he admitted in Snohomish County Superior Court.

Most Read